Social Bookmarking in Plain English

Last year I developed a low-tech way to demonstrate commenting and tagging during a follow-up class on Learning 2.0. We found some funny pictures, taped them to a few flip charts, and gave everyone in the class some post it notes to write down their comments and labels for the pictures. On one of the flip charts we left the post it notes up for everyone to see (Web 2.0). On another flip chart we removed the post it notes as soon as they were posted (Web 1.0).It was fun and useful in a few ways. It was an easy way to get the concept across to the learners. It also gave everyone a chance to get up and move around–which is always good in after lunch training session.Today I came across this clip on YouTube that explains tagging. This is so well-done using just some scraps of paper that have been cut out! The first thing I thought was, “Why didn’t I think of that!” They’ve actually done a lot of clips like this, so it is worth checking out and seems like it would be a good way to introduce folks to some of the more intimidating 2.0 stuff.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x66lV7GOcNU

Week 6 Thing 13: del.icio.us

Several months ago I set up a del.icio.us account. My original intent was to find a place to store my bookmarks so that I could access them from work and at home.

del.icio.us failed to impress me. As Ed points out, if all you want to do is organize your bookmarks and access them on different computers there are much better products out there that will accomplish this for you.

del.icio.us does not give you a nice organized, alphabetical list of your links. Instead del.icio.us is a social tagging site. I tag sites that are interesting to me, you tag sites that are interesting to you, we network, and in the end we have what is basically a list of the best of the Internet (according to del.icio.us users). For instance, if I go to http://del.icio.us/popular/library2.0 I can see what other delicious users are tagging as library 2.0.

It wasn’t until I met Stephanie Zimmerman, Training Coordinator for the Library System of Lancaster County, that I understood what social bookmarking is all about. Stephanie and I met in a Webinar. We discovered that we have a lot in common. We are both trainers for libraries. We are both moms (or soon to be moms). We connected after class through e-mail and shared links to our social sites: del.icio.us, Flickr, Bloglines.

I had been using all of these sites, but had never gotten the appeal of the social aspect of it.When Stephanie and I began sharing our tagged Web sites, photos, and blogrolls, I finally had my ah-ha moment about social networking. Here is someone with the same interests as me, that I have never met or spoken too, yet we have so much in common. Instead of e-mailing each other links to the great new library training sites that we find, we tag them in del.icio.us instead. Now when I go into del.icio.us, I can see everything that Stephanie has tagged and she can see everything that I have tagged. We are now networked. In addition to seeing all of the sites that Stephanie has tagged, I can also see Stephanie’s network and see what those people have tagged. If I find someone else who has tagged some sites that I like, I can add that person to my network.

This all goes back the wisdom of crowds theory mentioned at the Technology Summit earlier this year, or what I like to call our collective knowledge–a shared ocean of knowledge is more powerful than lots of individual pools of knowledge.

One of the nice features of del.icio.us is the ability to not only share links with the world but to tag them for specific people. For instance, if I find a really great site and I want to make sure Stephanie sees the site, I can tag this site for her. Below is an example of how to tag a site. Once you click the tag button, this screen pops up. The URL is automatically inserted along with the description. You type in your tags or click on recommended or popular tags from below. You can see there are also tags for each person in your network. I tagged this site for Stephanie. The next time she logs in to del.icio.us, she will have this link waiting in her inbox.

When Stephanie and I first started this social networking thing online we made a joke that it felt like we were “cyberstalking” each other. After all, we were sharing all of our tagged Web sites, photos, blog subscriptions, etc. this can feel kind of strange especially if you are a private person. But soon I discovered the benefits of social networking online. In addition to Stephanie, I have found a whole “network” of cyber-friends who find lots of interesting sites out on the Web. There is an old saying that two heads are better than one. With more and more people using social software the possibilities are endless.

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Week 5 Thing 12: Rollyo

It is funny how different things appeal to different people. Some people loved Rollyo. I found it was ok, but I usually can find what I want using Google or the advanced Google search. It’s not that often that I only want to search a limited number of Web sites.

For me the best thing so far has been RSS feeds and Bloglines, but then there are other people who did not like Bloglines.

That’s the best part of this 23 things discovery exercise. We don’t have to love or even like any of the things. The point is to experiment, try them out, and find some that are useful. Whether you like the things are not, you are still learning!

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